Man Collapses, Dies While Running in Rockville Road Race

By Martin Weil and James Hohmann
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, July 20, 2008

A runner who appeared to be about 60 years old collapsed and died in Rockville last night, during a road race in which participants had been warned about the hazards of heat and humidity.

The man, who was not immediately identified, was one of more than 2,000 people taking part in the Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest, according to Montgomery County fire and rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.

He said the start of the race, which began at Rockville Town Center, had apparently been delayed in response to last night's weather conditions. Piringer said several other entrants in the 8-kilometer (5-mile) race required aid. He said he thought one or two collapsed during the race, and others showed signs of dehydration.

Instructions to runners, posted on the race's Web site, warned that hot or humid weather was likely. In such conditions, the site said, runners should drink plenty of water and slow down or even avoid taking part. It said those who felt dizzy, ill or chilled, or have stopped perspiring, should immediately halt and seek help.

Piringer said that the runner collapsed near Montgomery College with about one mile to go. The runner received aid immediately. Emergency personnel had been stationed at many places along the course, Piringer said. No official cause of death was immediately available.

The race has been a popular summertime event in Montgomery County and among runners throughout the Washington metropolitan area. The Web site said last night's was the 23rd running of the race.

Yesterday's high temperature at Reagan National Airport was 94 degrees, and the day was the fourth in succession on which the temperature reached 90 or above. Today and tomorrow are also expected to be in the 90s.

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